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NASCAR DFS: Crown Royal 400 Lineup Tips

NASCAR DFS Expert Brian Polking reveals his final DraftKings lineup tips before the Crown Royal 400 begins!

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Crown Royal 400

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway is considered hallowed ground in the world of auto racing, and the Sprint Cup Series will add another chapter to the track's legacy this weekend with the 23rd running of the Crown Royal 400.

When building a DFS NASCAR lineup for Indianapolis, it needs to start with some big names starting up front. The best drivers from the best teams dominate at the rectangular-shaped oval where horsepower rules down the massive straightaways. Meanwhile, the flat corners make passing difficult, so track position is a huge advantage.

Granted, there aren't a ton of points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories with just 160 laps on tap, but there are enough that you need to try to target the one driver that spends the most time out front Sunday.

On the flip side, you probably won't want to go with an entirely unbalanced lineup like you would at a short track or 500-mile race on a smaller track with three expensive options and two very cheap fliers. There simply aren't enough laps available for that many drivers to bolster their final scores in the laps led and fastest laps run areas.

Feel free to take a chance on a couple of drivers starting deeper in the field, but make sure they are drivers that have a realistic shot at a decent finish. Don't underestimate the value of a solid top 10 finish this weekend, even if it comes from a driver that doesn't have a lot of points to gain through place differential.

Take one last look at the drivers to build around and the potential difference-makers for your DFS NASCAR lineups, and make sure to lock in your final picks ahead of Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tune into the action at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Building Blocks

 

Kevin Harvick ($10,500)

He has shown excellent speed all weekend, and last year, Harvick led a race-high 75 laps and finished third at Indianapolis. He has two top 10s and 89 laps led in two starts here since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, and all signs point to another strong run from Harvick. He makes an excellent building block in any format.

 

Kyle Busch ($10,400)

Busch won at Indianapolis last year, and he has shown nothing but race-winning speed throughout the weekend. Starting on the pole, I wouldn't be surprised if he dominates the laps led and fastest laps run categories, and he is my frontrunner to be the top scorer at DraftKings.

 

Difference Makers

 

Jimmie Johnson ($9,700)

It has been a long time since Johnson has dominated a race, and even after starting on the pole at New Hampshire last weekend, he was quiet on race day. That being said, this is Indianapolis, and Johnson knows how to show up on the biggest stages. He is a four-time winner here, and he has led by far the most laps since 2005. Gambling on him in a GPP could pay off in a big way.

 

Matt Kenseth ($9,600)

Starting 18th, Kenseth could have a tough time leading laps Sunday, which could make him an expensive No. 2 driver. However, he has a 5.3 average finish at Indianapolis with Joe Gibbs Racing, so a top five finish and 15-plus bonus points through place differential is very likely, and he you can’t rule out a driver of Kenseth's caliber scoring points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Don't hesitate to roster him in cash games.

 

Tony Stewart ($8,400)

He could make or break lineups this weekend, and I wouldn't consider him in cash games. Stewart has been running well coming into Indianapolis, and he will start third Sunday. I don't think anyone would be too shocked if the Indiana native celebrated his final trip to the track with an epic performance, but on the flip side, would anyone be surprised if he simply slipped to a mid-pack finish.

 

Ryan Blaney ($7,500)

Blaney was a no-brainer pick at Indianapolis last year after he qualified 30th, and he delivered in a big way by finishing 12th. The decision is a little tougher this year since he starts 17th, but if he challenges for a top 10, he will still provide a solid score and a decent price. Consider him when building GPP lineups.

 

A.J. Allmendinger ($7,100)

A lackluster record at Indianapolis should keep his ownership numbers modest, but Allmendinger showed good speed in practice. He couldn't back it up in qualifying, but starting 25th, he could end up boosting his final score with a solid place differential if the speed shows up during the race. I like him as a GPP sleeper.

 

Clint Bowyer ($6,900)

It is the same old story for Bowyer. He has struggled all weekend in his HScott Motorsports equipment, but starting 31st, he has enormous upside in the place differential category. He is either going to stay mired in the back and be useless or pick his way toward the front and be a steal. He is the type of high-risk, high-reward gamble who can win you a GPP.

 

Danica Patrick ($6,300)

Her record at Indianapolis to date isn't pretty, and while she qualified 24th, Patrick isn't starting so deep in the field that she should be one of the obvious sleepers. She showed solid speed in practice, and if she can land somewhere in the top 20 Sunday, Patrick could be a great alternative source of cap relief, especially in GPPs.

 

Drivers to Fade

Carl Edwards ($9,900)

Starting on the front row, Edwards could certainly do some damage in the laps led category. However, he has finished outside the top 10 in his last five starts at Indianapolis, and he has been more of a 15th-place driver here for his career. If I'm spending this much money on a driver, it is going to be on a Kyle Busch or another big name with a stronger history of success at Indianapolis.

 

Kurt Busch ($9,400)

As consistent as Busch has been this year, his record at Indianapolis is hard to ignore. He has just two top 10s in the last ten races here, and he hasn't finished better than eighth during that stretch. Starting 11th, he doesn't have much potential through place differential, and I just don't see him suddenly running up front and leading laps. Spend your money elsewhere.

 

My Favorite DraftKings Lineup

Kyle Busch ($10,400)
Matt Kenseth ($9,600)
Jeff Gordon ($8,800)
Kasey Kahne ($7,700)
Aric Almirola ($6,700)
Trevor Bayne ($6,500)

Based on everything that has happened this weekend, I am expecting Busch to dominate this race and the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Starting from the pole, I think he is the best bet to be the top scorer this weekend.

Since I am banking on Busch to lead a lot of laps, I will pair him with Kenseth and Gordon, who both offers top five potential and have sizeable upside in the place differential category.

Starting 26th, Kahne is a low-risk, high-upside play, and while Almirola's ceiling isn't nearly as high, he is a safe pick after qualifying 29th. Even if he just cracks the top 20, Almirola should still deliver around 30 fantasy points.

Bayne is another relatively safe play. Starting 20th, he shouldn't finish much higher or lower, so he isn’t going to torpedo the rest of the lineup with a big negative score. He has been a 15th-20th-place driver most of the year, so a decent finish and round 30 fantasy points should be doable.

Checkers-or-Wreckers Lineup

Kevin Harvick ($10,500)

Jimmie Johnson ($9,700)

Matt Kenseth ($9,600)

Kasey Kahne ($7,700)

A.J. Allmendinger ($7,100)

Regan Smith ($5,400)

 

While Kyle Busch is probably the best bet to be the top scorer, Harvick would be my No. 2 pick. He led a race-high 75 laps at Indianapolis last year, and he is a great alternative to Busch when starting a lineup.

Johnson could be the real X-factor in this lineup. He has had a quiet few months, but he has shown plenty of speed this weekend. He is also a four-time winner here, and when he runs well, he flat out dominates. He has the upside you look for when trying to win a large GPP.

Kenseth and Kahne both have safe floors since they are starting deeper in the field, but since both have excellent numbers in Indianapolis, they have enough upside for me to use in both cash games and GPPs.

Allmendinger starts back in 25th, and despite lackluster numbers at Indianapolis up to this point, I feel he has potential. He has been a solid flat track driver throughout his career, and drivers that run well at road courses tend to do well on Indianapolis' sweeping corners. I don't expect him to be highly owned, and if he can slide into the top 20, he could put this lineup over the top.

Smith is the low-priced play that makes this lineup work, but starting 37th, he has nothing to lose through place differential. Plus, I am encouraged by his run at Pocono this year when he started 35th and finished 22nd. Pocono's size and shape makes it one of the better comparable tracks to Indianapolis so that he could be a sneaky source of 30-plus fantasy points.


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